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Oilers G Campbell clears waivers, headed to AHL


Edmonton Oilers goaltender Jack Campbell cleared waivers Wednesday and is expected to be assigned to the AHL's Bakersfield Condors. 

Campbell, 31, has a 1-4-0 record this season with a .873 save percentage and a 4.50 goals-against average. Campbell is in the second season of a five-year, $25 million contract signed with the Oilers as a free agent in 2022. 

TSN Hockey Insider Chris Johnston reported Tuesday that the Oilers are expected to recall Calvin Pickard while Campbell works to find his form playing in the AHL for the first time since the 2018-19 season.

"Well, it may not be a shock, but when you're 16 months into a five-year deal with a player, you certainly never want to get to this stage that Edmonton finds itself and you don't make that decision lightly," Johnston said on Insider Trading. "I think the best hope now from the Oilers perspective, is that Jack Campbell has a chance once he clears waivers Wednesday to go down in the American Hockey League, rebuild his game in the way he has in the past in the AHL, and hopefully return to his spot where he can help them at the NHL level. In the meantime, you'll bring up Calvin Pickard, who makes considerably less, will allow the Oilers to accrue more cap space and that will be very useful for them in the months ahead for further wheeling and dealing.

Campbell did not play in the team's 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks Monday, though Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft addressed criticism directed at both Campbell and Stuart Skinner post-game

“Our goaltenders wear the same jerseys as the rest of the team,” Woodcroft said. “Are there moments that our goaltenders can be better? Yeah, there are.”

Skinner has not fared better this season, owning a 1-4-1 record with a .856 save percentage and a 3.99 goals-against average.

Pickard, 31, is 2-2 with the AHL's Bakersfield Condors this season with a .939 save percentage and a 2.03 GAA. He last played in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings in 2021-22, going 1-1 in three appearances. 

In 116 career NHL games, Pickard has a 35-54-10 record with a .903 save percentage and a 3.03 GAA. 

The Oilers sit second-last in the NHL this season with a 2-8-1 record. Only the San Jose Sharks, who the Oilers will face Thursday, have fewer points this season.

No Trade Incoming for Oilers?

TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun added Tuesday that the Oilers are unlikely to add a goaltender on the trade market, despite their current woes. 

"It goes without saying that part of the conversation I think internally for the Oilers is whether there's a goalie upgrade elsewhere, but easier said than done," LeBrun said. "No. 1, (Oilers general manager) Ken Holland has been around a long time and making a deal out of desperation is your worst leverage position. That's where the Oilers are.

"So, you're overpaying at this point for a goalie upgrade on top of the fact that any trade for a goalie upgrade would have to require Jack Campbell either being dealt separately somehow, and that would have to cost a high-end asset for the Oilers to be able to move that contract. Now the other thing to look at, of course, and Dregs is going to touch on this, but a potential coaching change. I don't think the Oilers are there. I don't think they see a team that's given up on their head coach, but if there are external options, it's worth noting that Gerard Gallant and Ken Holland go back and played together in the NHL and have remained friends over the years."


Campbell remains signed through 2026-27

The Oilers will save $1.15 million of Campbell's $5 million cap hit while he is playing in the AHL. He is under contract for three more seasons after this one. 

He posted a 21-9-4 record last season despite a .888 save percentage and a 3.41 goals-against average. In his previous two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Campbell had a .914 save percentage in 2021-22 and a .921 save percentage in 2020-21. 

The Port Huron, Mich., native was selected in the first round of the 2010 draft by the Dallas Stars. He found a full-time role with the Los Angeles Kings in 2018-19 before being traded to the Maple Leafs at the 2020 trade deadline.